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Russian tennis star Sharapova may be granted wildcard to play at French Open in 2017

October 05, 18:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian player is now eligible to officially return back to tennis courts starting April 26 next year
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© EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. Organizers of the French Open tennis tournament do not rule out that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will be handed a wild card to participate in the Grand Slam event in France next year, Roland Garros press service told TASS on Wednesday.

"The list of wildcards is decided 15 days before the tournament; we have time to think about it," the press service announced to TASS.

Sharapova has been serving a two-year suspension for the violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on Tuesday to reduce Sharapova’s suspension term from 24 to 15 months.

The Russian player is now eligible to officially return back to tennis courts starting April 26 next year. The nearest Grand Slam tournament, which is the 2017 French Open, is scheduled for May 22-June 11 and the Russian tennis star will not have time to earn enough tournament points to join the tennis competition in France. Therefore the wildcard is her only chance to play at the French Grand Slam event.

Alexei Selivanenko, the vice president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), told TASS that Sharapova was likely to receive a wildcard for the French Open.

"Sharapova will be resuming the tournament with zero rating," Selivanenko said in an interview with TASS. "It is obvious that before the beginning of the tournament she will be unable to gain enough points to earn the berth."

"However, the organizers of the tournament are most likely to grant a wildcard to such tennis player (as Sharapova)," Selivanenko added.

In early March, Sharapova was first to announce that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug meldonium in the body system. Following the announcement, former World’s No. 1 was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities.

On June 9, Sharapova filed an appeal with the CAS in Switzerland’s Lausanne against her two-year suspension, which was officially announced on June 8 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tribunal over anti-doping violations.

Due to the imposed ban Sharapova, the silver Olympic medalist of the 2012 Games in London, had to miss the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, held in August in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

Mildronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without a doctor’s prescription.

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